More often than not, a goalie sees more work in the playoffs than during the regular season, and that’s what Tuukka Rask is going through right now.
Lucky to have a couple other reliable netminders in the Bruins organization, Rask in recent years hasn’t had to worry about playing much more than 40-45 regular-season games. That’s allowed for him to be fresh going into the playoffs so he can play every game.
Rask did exactly that in the Bruins’ first-round series against the Washington Capitals, as Boston had games every other night up until finishing off the Caps in Game 5 on Sunday.
After the Bruins enjoyed off days Monday and Tuesday, Rask eased his way back in Wednesday by going out early with goalie coach Bob Essensa and forward Trent Frederic to face some shots in lieu of a live-action practice with the full group.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has no qualms with that approach.
“That’s basically a Bob and Tuukka conversation. That’s what he felt would be best for him today, a little individual work knowing we have a bit of time here,” Cassidy said Wednesday over Zoom. “So, I’m fine with it. Tuukka has been on, obviously, we’ve all see that. He played four games last week, five in whatever it was, 10 days, something he hadn’t done all year.
“So, clearly he’s taking care of himself, being ready to play every night and that’s a good thing. … I assume he’ll rejoin us tomorrow for some live work, and then we’ll see what Friday brings.”
After the way he played in the first round, Rask should have all the latitude in the world to do what he feels is best for himself. The 34-year-old had a .941 save percentage across the five games against Washington, while in the process becoming the winningest goalie in Bruins postseason history.
His next task will be facing either the Islanders or Penguins, who will battle in Game 6 on Wednesday night. New York leads the series over Pittsburgh 3-2.
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